Monday, December 28, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Gameweek 19 Preview: IEFSA Fantasy Cup


A Marko Arnautovic goal and an Alberto Moreno clean sheet helped me achieve the win over @TomSunderland_ just two days ago. That victory doesn’t move me up any positions in the table, and I still sit in 10th with nine wins and nine defeats to my name. As I mentioned in my previous post, this victory was crucial to keep pace with the leaders (is 15pts off top keeping pace?), as seven of the other teams in the Top 10 had victories also.
But Gameweek 19 offers us a little respite from the pain of looking at the league table, because this is the first round of the IEFSA Cup. Last season I lost in the final and I’ll be hoping for a similar run this year, but hopefully go just one better. With the quick turnaround in matches and my internet acting up (I live in Japan, it shouldn’t be like this!), this will be a quick preview.


In the First Round of the cup, I’ve been drawn against………

@DFS_hambazaza’s Team
I beat @DFS_hambazaza in Gameweek 16 thanks largely to Arnautovic gaining over ten points. His side may sit bottom of IEFSA with only one win, but his side will surely be up for the cup? Sergio Aguero is due back for Man City, and he is a player who could win a matchup all on his own if in the mood. So I’m well aware of the threat that @DFS_hambazaza poses over the next three days of Premier League fixtures.
No Cup upsets this week please
What I Need To Happen

Aguero looks likely to play against Leicester City, if he is kept quiet that would make my life a whole lot easier. I’ve been talking about a number of my players being due a goal or two over the last couple of weeks. So if one or two of them could step up for their respective clubs this Monday that would be great. I’m looking at you, Ayew, Wijnaldum and, dear oh dear…. Memphis Depay.

Looking further ahead, and the need to get a full squad of players playing week in week out, I’ll be looking to aquire another defender of the free agent list. Carl Jenkinson may have gotten 45 minutes for West Ham last time out, but baring a long term injury to one of the fullbacks, he doesn’t look like getting back into the Hammers back four any time soon.

Predictions
Gameweek 18 = 7 from 7

What more needs to be said? When you’re good you’re good! Let’s try and replicate this feat with this week’s cup games. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter for all the ups and downs of cup action. Plus, follow me @GarryIrwin for all the corresponding downs and ups!








Good Luck Everyone!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 18 Preview


I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas festivities and are adequately prepared for the thick and fast football coming over the New Year. Unfortunately the holiday period got off to a bad start last weekend as @nikarg defeated my side by an agonising 3.3 pts after my players failed to register a single goal or assist. @nikarg had a Wayne Rooney assist to thank for his win, the first time Rooney has helped a team to win since….. ummmm, I don’t know, perhaps September?

This week I get a chance to get back to winning ways when I face @TomSunderland_ Tom might be second from bottom of the league, but he did win his previous matchup and he would have beaten me last week too.  A win could see my squad move up to ninth, but a loss would more than likely move me team down to eleventh and far too many points off the summit to worry about winning the league for another year.

@TomSunderland_’s Team
A great Goalkeeper in Arsenal’s Petr Cech sits behind a back three of players who are pretty much nailed on starters for their clubs for Tom’s side. Two of these four players, Azpelicueta and Walker, have home fixtures that look like they could throw up a clean sheet or two. His Midfield is a bit harder to pin down. The player with the most appearances for his side this season, Leicester’s Daniel Drinkwater, will be unavailable this week. The rest of his options could well be propping up benches up and down the country this weekend. On the flipside though, three of them could well start, and then I’ll be in trouble.

Nine of his goals have come from his two Forward players, Arouna Kone and Anthony Martial. Martial should start up front for Manchester United when they travel to Stoke City. But Kone could have his place under threat for Everton’s trip to Newcastle from Kevin Mirallas. The Belgian scored last time out against Leicester, whereas Kone hasn’t scored since his hattrick against Sunderland on November first.

What I Need To Happen
If @TomSunderland_ is hoping for Martial to shine against Stoke on Saturday lunchtime, I’ll be hoping that Memphis Depay does the same. Martial’s place is surely more secure than Memphis’s, but with Luis van Gaal really needing to pick up a win, perhaps the manager will try attacking en masse for this game. If he does go this route, and I’ll be delighted if he does, perhaps this will cost Schweinsteiger, another player on my roster, his chance of starting.
Will the Guus get cooked this Holiday season?
That would leave my midfield scrambling around for starters. Aston Villa have a home fixture against West Ham. And after a promising result last time out for the Villains, I could play my two Villa players (I know, I know!).  Hopefully I will need only one, as Wijnaldum and Andre Ayew have home games, and are due a goal or two before the year is out. In goals I will be hoping for a clean sheet from Chelsea to mark Guus Hiddink’s first game in charge.

Predictions
Only three correct predictions from seven last week. @Smokey_Loogy was toppled by @FantasyYIRMA in a really tight game. While @DanRiccio590 was beaten by @RotoWireAndrew in another closely fought contest. This week will be easier to predict surely! Follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep track of all this week’s games, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter also @GarryIrwin.








Good Luck Everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 17 Preview


A win! My team posted almost 30pts less than the week before, but this time a victory was achieved. I still sit 12 points behind league leader @Smokey_Loogy back in 10th place. An Allan Nyom assist and clean sheet for Watford did the damage for me last weekend against @DFS_hambazaza. The 45.2 pts gained would have beaten eight teams in the IEFSA League last time out, but I will surely need to top that total this week against @nikarg, as his side averages 48.7pts per week.

The big news in the Premier League this past week was the dismissal of Jose Mourinho by Chelsea. He becomes the fifth managerial casualty of the season.

Quick Pub Quiz Fact: Chelsea were the first team to sack a manager in the Premier League era back in 1993. After they fell away from the title race post-Christmas, they gave their manager the boot in February. That man? Ian Porterfield!

@nikarg’s Team

In a very tight league, @nikarg is three points off the top in sixth place. He has a squad peppered with great performers. In goals he has the highest scoring shot stopper in the game in Jack Butland at Stoke City. He has seven clean sheets and has only conceded 14 goals in 16 starts. He doubles up with Stoke players at the back with Glen Johnson. The Potters host Crystal Palace on Saturday in a game where a clean sheet is surely a possibility. Up front he will be hoping Wayne Rooney is passed fit for the Manchester United game against Norwich. If he isn’t he can put in Joel Campbell in his Forward slot.

His midfield has contributed a huge amount of assists so far this season. Albrighton (6), Eriksen (6), and Sissoko (5) have each more assists than all my midfielders combined. He also has Matic of Chelsea in his midfield, it will be interesting to see how he will respond to the appointment of a new manager at Stamford Bridge.

What I Need To Happen

Chelsea will have a new man in the dugout this weekend picking the starting eleven, but will surely stick with Thibaut Courtois in goals. They face Sunderland at home in a real relegation six pointer! Hopefully they can post a long overdue cleansheet. Elsewhere at the back I have Nyom and Moreno facing each other when Watford host Liverpool on Sunday. A boring nil all draw would be most welcomed. My remaining defensive slot has drawn blanks for the last few weeks, so I’ll be hoping that with the spate of injuries West Ham have suffered lately, that Carl Jenkinson can get back into the Hammers side.
For those paying attention, Garry Monk got the chop after Swansea won 3 in 16!
 
No goals last weekend for my side, surely this will not be the case this time out. Memphis could well be in the United team as they host Norwich. Georginio Wijnaldum scores all his goals at home and the Toon host bottom placed Aston Villa in the Premier League’s Saturday evening kickoff. Andre Ayew will have a chance to get back on the scoring charts when Swansea host West Ham. Arnautovic has five goals this season and will perhaps get some chances to add to this against Crystal Palace.

Predictions

Another week, another four correct coupled with three wrong. It’s very hard to make predictions in this league, so to keep track of how well my predictions are doing (not doing!) please follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter. Follow me on Twitter @GarryIrwin for the ups and down of my unpredictable, yet terribly predictable, midtable fantasy team.








Good Luck Everyone

Friday, December 11, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 16 Preview


Are you sitting comfortably?

Good. Let me tell you a story of Fantasy Football woe. Last weekend my side posted a rather impressive 71.2 pts; my second highest score of the season. A score good enough to beat fourteen teams in the IEFSA league that very week. It included three goals scored, and for once I didn’t leave any points sitting on the bench. But…….. I was facing @Smokey_Loogy and his side went out and scored 76.3 points! It catapulted him to first place in the league, leaving my side twelve points behind in 10th place.

Perhaps I should look on the positives? If my team can get that kind of score every week, they will surely win more than they lose. So this week, we pick ourselves up and face @DFS_hambazaza. His team props up the league after a run of 13 losses on the trot. All that means though is that he is surely due a victory. I will have to do everything to make sure that this week’s match is not it.

@DFS_hambazaza’s Team

His side has struggled because of injuries to key players. Up front he can call on Sergio Aguero, but with him starting only nine games this season, @DFS_hambazaza has to fall back on Steven Fletcher (injured), Steven Naismith (3rd/4th choice striker for Everton) and Andy Carroll (one goal all season). He also has Lewis Grabban of Norwich, but he has only one goal and can’t seem to break into the Canaries starting eleven.

Pocchettino plays Trippier in the Europa but not the Premier League
The player who has played the most for him is youngster Matteo Darmian of Man Utd. He has started 12 games, but he is injured this week, meaning @DFS_hambazaza will have to start Kieran Trippier. The problem is, Tottenham don’t seem to want to start Trippier!

He must be really disappointed in his midfield. No goals and no assists from the trio of Gardner, Mirallas and Routledge. All three are playing away from home this week, so he will be really up against it if he is looking for them to get the points he needs to win this week’s matchup.

What I Need To Happen

I need his players to continue their inconsistent run of starts. As mentioned, only one player, outside of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, has started more than ten games. His keeper heads to Crystal Palace this week and I will hope he struggles to get to his average weekly points total of 4.4 points.

My side has a few player starting issues of its own. Schweinsteiger is suspended for Man Utd’s trip to Bournmouth. While Forward Joshua King is a doubt with concussion, while also having his place under threat by Glenn Murray who scored the winner for the Cherries against Chelsea last week. Man Utd also have a pretty mean defensive, perhaps I should be looking to Arnautovic to get the goals for my side again this week.

At the other end of the field, Courtois is back between the sticks for Chelsea. He should start this week as they travel to table toppers Leicester City. I believe he will be kept busy, and maybe he can keep a clean sheet for Mourinho’s beleaguered side.

Predictions

Four right and three wrong again last week; with a lot of tight matchups where a goal could have swung the tie. @Smokey_Loogy and @RotoZdroik are the two form teams in the league. Will they continue their streaks? Make sure to follow @THE_IEFSA to keep up with the drama. Follow me on Twitter @GarryIrwin also and keep tabs on my inevitable euphoria or heartbreak!

Okay! This week’s predictions! Good Luck everyone.







Friday, December 4, 2015

IEFSA Fantasy League Week 15 Preview


I gambled last weekend and it didn’t pay off, as a result I took my second heaviest defeat of the season. Unfortunately, because I hoped that Memphis Depay would use any minutes he got against Leicester City to good effect, I left Schweinsteiger on the bench, who then goes and scores. I also left Fabian Delph (goal) and Joshua King (assist) on the bench. With these players in my starting line-up I could have overcame @RotoZdroik and the goals his team got from Lukaku and McArther.

This week I’m pitted against the most in form team in the league in @Smokey_Loogy. He has managed to rattle off five wins on the bounce. Thanks again fixture gods!! It is a tough matchup because his team is built on scoring goals. One of his Forwards has more goals than my three forward players combined. Plus, the rest of his team ain’t too shabby either.

@Smokey_Loogy’s Team

Up front he can play both Watford forwards, who are bang in form at the moment. Ighalo and Deeney have 12 goals and five assists between them. They are at home on Saturday against a Norwich team yet to keep a clean sheet on the road this season, so they will be fancied to get on the scoresheet again. @Smokey_Loogy has four Crystal Palace players in his squad. Yannick Bolasie averages the most points per game for his side with over 7. Palace travel to Everton for a three o’clock kickoff on Saturday too. A tricky fixture, but you never know what Alan Pardew has up his sleeve and Palace have a pretty good away record.

Will Alan Pardew have his head in his hands at Goodison this week?
His defensive options all average over 5pts a game. He could well go with two Palace defenders, but would he be confident that they could keep Lukaku, Barkley and others quiet? He probably has more confidence in his Liverpool players. The Reds travel to lowly Newcastle United on Sunday. J├╝rgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into one of the form teams in the Premier League. Mignolet in goals should be fancied to frustrate the Toon, while Philippe Coutinho (if fit) is a constant threat at the other end of the pitch.

What I Need To Happen

If Norwich could somehow keep Watford’s two hot strikers from scoring this weekend that would be great. If Newcastle could upset the form book and overturn Liverpool, with perhaps Wijnaldum getting on the score sheet, that would also be great. Everton are surely too hot for Palace to handle at the moment, so a nice boring  1-0 Toffees win would be good in that match-up, as long as Seamus Coleman doesn’t score!

As for my side? Well…. Who to pick? My selections were all wrong last weekend, but should I stick with some of those players? Memphis will surely get some proper game time now that Wayne Rooney has been ruled out with injury. Schweinsteiger was Man Utd’s player of the month for November, so should surely be starting for my team in a game at home to out of sorts West Ham. Chelsea have finally started to keep some clean sheets and will be expected to do so again at home to Bournmouth; so I would anticipate Begovic to gain some points. While leaving Joshua King on the bench for my side.

Which player to play in my remaining M and OF positions? Delph may start for Man City against Stoke, but should I be playing Arnautovic in that game, as the Potters are the home team? That game is the early kick-off, so it could set me up for the remaining games, or, it could set me back.

Predictions

Four correct and three incorrect last week. Some games were mighty close, while others were less so. @nealjthurman would have beaten my side last week, but he ended up losing to @Smokey_Loogy by nearly 30 pts! Gulp! How are you supposed to predict games when that kind of thing is going on! Regardless, I’m going to try again this week. Remember to follow @THE_IEFSA on Twitter to keep up with all of these matchups and also to follow me! @GarrryIrwin.








Good Luck Everyone